MSNBC Panel Debates Dem Strategy on Impeachment: Would Be ‘Mistake’ to Start Hearings Right Away


A panel on MSNBC’s AM Joy this morning got into a lengthy debate over the Democrats’ strategy on pursuing impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Some Democrats have expressed support or at least an openness to impeachment hearings, while others have been far more hesitant.

Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart said Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler has the right approach and that they should “continue down the road of having hearings” and getting the unredacted Mueller report.

He thinks impeachment proceedings are inevitable, but that it’s “a political process more than it is a legal process”:

“I think it would be a mistake if Democrats were to be knee-jerk and say, ‘Let’s have hearings start as soon as we get back––impeachment hearings as soon as we get back from Easter break.’ That is not going to help matters, but if they keep going the way that Chairman Nadler is signaling, they will get to impeachment and they will bring the American people along with them. They have to have the American people along with them, otherwise it’ll be a fool’s errand and he’ll win again.”

Tara Dowdell noted how impeachment may be a “high risk proposition” for Democrats politically, but argued, “These are times when we should take the politics away. This is a moral issue… I think the media has to stop saying it is a political process.”

Above the Law editor Elie Mystal agreed with Dowdell and said, “Congress is the only body around that can hold Trump accountable, so they must hold Trump accountable.”

“I’m a Stark, all right?” he continued. “I didn’t vote for sniveling Lannisters. I’m sick of the Democrats constantly trying to play politics when they have a moral justice issue here. It’s time for the Democrats to stand up and the argument that they can’t do both––that, ‘oh, if we do impeachment then we can’t talk about health care’––no, we can walk and chew gum.”

Capehart responded that no one’s saying they shouldn’t hold Trump accountable, saying, “We all want to get to point Z. It is all a matter of how fast you get there and how many people do you bring along with you in the process.”

He brought up as an example how former President Barack Obama ended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and how “he had people within the Democratic party yelling and screaming at him ‘just do away with it,'” but the process he pursued was ultimately successful.

Joy Reid questioned the idea that Republican voters “will be somehow brought along towards impeachment,” bringing up Adam Schiff‘s comments that impeachment won’t be successful as long as Republicans are “more loyal to their party” or the president than to the constitution.

Former Congressman David Jolly (R- FL) argued Democrats shouldn’t “take the same position as Bill Barr and refuse… to hold this president accountable.”

Dowdell also took issue with the argument that impeachment will further divide the country when “the right thing, historically in this country, in many instances has not always been popular.”

Mystal responded to Capehart’s Obama-DADT example by bringing up Merrick Garland:

“I’m old enough to remember when Obama followed all the rules that you do to appoint a Supreme Court justice, and I remember Republicans not playing ball, and I remember Democrat not burning it down right there. I remember Democrats for months saying like, ‘Oh, we’ll just win in 2016. We’ll just win the election. There’s no reason to stop the government right now, we should just focus on the election.’ No, we fight the battle in front Of us and this is the battle in front of us. I don’t know if we’re going to win in 2020. I don’t know what’s going to happen in 2020, but I know now is that we have a criminal we can get and we should go get him.”

Capehart said that Trump “will be impeached” but in order for it to be successful, “the evidence has to be even more overwhelming simply because of the political state we’re in right now.”

You can watch above, via MSNBC.

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac